Rose City Lanes owners Mike and Paula Verdetto thought it would be nice to dress up a long expansive wall along the east side of the lanes at their bowling alley with a mural. Local artist Aubry Jolley collaborated with the couple on a local theme for the mural featuring a scene from the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
Jolley started working on the mural in June of 2016. She has done most of the work in her spare time between her full-time job at a local insurance agency and caring for her three children. She said it’s been a slow process due in part to time constraints of work and home life, but she expects to have it completed in the near future.
Jolley said her mother, Mona Wilkerson, was a talented artist and encouraged her to express herself through art during her childhood. Jolley has carried on that tradition with her own children, who she said enjoy art creating projects of their own. She said her oldest son Jared is showing a lot of natural talent and helped her with some of the background work on the mural.
One of the horses featured in the mural is the legendary Cloud, a cream colored horse made famous by a film that was made about him by documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathrens of Colorado. Cloud is accompanied by a number of other horses painted against the backdrop of the wild horse range located just outside of Lovell.
Jolley said she started the project with a preliminary sketch and a mental image of the finished painting but it took on a life of its own as she began to paint. She said she started with a projection of the background but painted most of the horses freehand.
“You’d think horses and mountains would be the most difficult part, but it was actually the sagebrush that took the most time,” said Jolley.
Jolley, a 1996 Lovell High School graduate, took some art classes in high school and later at Northwest College. This is the first time she’s attempted to do a large mural, having worked on a smaller one while in school. She said she mostly draws and paints for fun and doesn’t display a lot of her art in public. The Verdettos noticed Jolley, a regular bowler at the alley, doodling while at the bowling alley. After painting an incredible set of bowling pins, which are on display at Rose City Lanes, they asked if she would take on the mural project.
“This bowling alley has been here since the 50s and we thought it would be nice to have something that is uniquely local,” said Mike Verdetto. “It’s really coming out nice. You can see that already, even though it’s not finished.”
By Patti Carpenter